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Royal Challengers Bangalore batsman KL Rahul was not included in the Indian squad for the first two Tests against England announced on Wednesday in Mumbai.
India will miss Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma through different injuries during the first two Tests. Rahul missed two Tests against New Zealand after a hamstring injury sustained in Kanpur, Dhawan missed the Indore Test after injuring his thumb at Kolkata and Rohit Sharma injured his upper thigh during the ODIs against New Zealand. Rohit Sharma might require surgery and could miss out on the entire series against England while Dhawan and Rahul are expected to return in time for the 3rd Test.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar who missed the third Test at Indore will have to prove his fitness in FC fixtures before the selectors make a call. Ishant Sharma was named in the squad after missing out the New Zealand series with Chikungunya.
Gautam Gambhir retained his spot as stand-in opener while Karun Nair and Hardik Pandya were named as middle order options in the squad.
Stuart Binny had been the Test team's seam bowling all-rounder on South Africa's tour of India last year. Pandya had a middling tour of Australia with India A but broke into the ODI side that played New Zealand before being selected in the Test squad.
On Pandya's selection ahead of Binny, national selector MSK Prasad said "Pandya's pace has increased, he is moving the ball, his batsmanship has improved. And he has mellowed down as a person. He is one allrounder we thought is an equally competent bowler and batsman. And a good fielder too."
"Rahul Dravid has worked hard on the mental side of his game. Now Anil Kumble is guiding him. We have three allrounders - Stuart Binny, Hardik Pandya, Rishi Dhawan. In this particular series, he scores ahead of Binny. Much quicker and better bowler than Stuart. With form and fitness, Hardik is a better option."
India's first Test against England starts at Rajkot on November 9th. The second Test will be played at Visakhapatnam on November 17th.
Squad Virat Kohli (capt.), R Ashwin, Gautam Gambhir, Ravindra Jadeja, Amit Mishra, Mohammad Shami, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Wriddhiman Saha, Karun Nair, M Vijay, Umesh Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Ishant Sharma, Jayant Yadav